Má Pêche rolls out dim sum service
Momofuku’s David Chang enters the dumpling fray, unleashing a new dim-sum menu format at his Chambers Hotel restaurant
Tue Mar 25 2014
Dim sum cart at Má Pêche
Like pancake brunches and brain-rattling hangovers, dim sum has enmeshed itself in New York’s pantheon of hallowed weekend traditions, drawing lines of Chinatown locals, dad-jeans tourists and bun-chasing gastronauts. For the most part, the throwdown Cantonese feast—with its joyous mad dash of clanging carts and bellowing servers—has largely been confined to Chinese restaurants.
But last month, the Momofuku crew rolled steamer-basket-loaded dollies into the realm of contemporary dining at Má Pêche, replacing its à la carte menu with point-and-choose ordering. As expected from a David Chang joint, you won’t find ordinary spring rolls or egg tarts among the Asian-tinged offerings from executive chef Paul Carmichael. Servers wheel out steel carts—split among congee, starters, rice cakes and more—and while the service can be halting at times, they make up for it in chefly updates to the form. Some dishes feature elaborate tableside service, such as chef-carved 48-hour sous vide short ribs. Others display novel dim sum offerings, like a raw-bar selection spotlighting creamy slips of uni and a local sea bass crudo appointed with pickled kombu, a kola emulsion and shaved foie gras.
Comfort seekers can find refuge in favorites from other Momofuku restaurants, served in different incarnations: the empire-building pork buns (which get their own cart), a Noodle Bar–esque fried chicken (here offered as classic country fried or habanero hot) and a riff on the Ssäm Bar signature brussels sprouts (made instead with a ginger-scallion mayonnaise, Calabrian chili and sour cherries). The fried bird and sprouts are featured on the trim menu of shareable plates, which also highlights a decadent bowl of lamb noodles—the mazemen variation mixes thick Sun Noodles with shredded Elysian Fields lamb rib, zippy chili jam and soft-cooked egg. With Má Pêche’s upmarket twist on dim sum, the only recognizable relic of the tradition is the cart.
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